KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Okla. Gov. Looks For Cuts To Cover $60M More In Health Care Costs; Miss. Gov. Wants To Offer Hospitals Money To Offset Health Law

A selection of health policy stories from Oklahoma, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Delaware, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Georgia and California.

The Associated Press: Fallin Warns Of $60M Spike In Health Care Costs
[Oklahoma] Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday that state agency heads should be looking for ways to save money in next year's budget, given reports of lackluster tax collections to Oklahoma's general revenue fund and the more than $60 million increase in mandatory health care spending the state will bear next year (Murphy, 12, 2).

The Associated Press: Bryant Wants To Give Hospitals Funds To Offset Health Care Reform
[Mississippi] Gov. Phil Bryant is proposing the state give Mississippi hospitals $4.4 million to offset an expected loss of federal funds due to the Affordable Care Act. Under the federal health care law, over a period of years the reimbursement to hospitals for treating people with no health care coverage will be reduced (12/2).

Bloomberg: Wisconsin Tries To Follow Texas In Reviving An Abortion Law
One month after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott won a U.S. appeals court ruling overriding a decision to block abortion restrictions in his state, Wisconsin's top lawyer is aiming for a similar result. Both states have laws requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of their clinic (Harris, 12/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Delaware Mental Health Task Force Continues Work
A task force studying Delaware's civil mental health laws is finishing up its work in advance of a Jan. 1 deadline for submitting a report with its full findings to the General Assembly and the governor. Among the issues that have been examined by the task force, which meets Tuesday, are immunity provisions regarding involuntary mental health commitments. The immunity provision were the subject of a task force report that was due earlier this year and which was followed with legislation signed by Gov. Jack Markell in March (12/3).

The Texas Tribune: In Texas, Uncertainty After Health Plan Cancellation Uproar
Many Texans in individual health care plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act have been spared cancellation notices. But for the Texans whose plans have been dropped, health care experts are encouraging them to proceed carefully (Zaragovia, 12/3).

The Texas Tribune: Despite Changes, Nurses Push For More Independence
As an advanced practice nurse specializing in family medicine, Holly Jeffreys operates the only medical clinics in two rural Texas Panhandle counties. The state requires that she have a contract with a physician to supervise both clinics, but she operates the facilities almost independently (Aaronson, 12/2).

I-News/Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Delays To Implementing Mental Health Initiative ‘An Embarrassment’
Susan Beckman wants you to know that "a lot of sloppy work" -- and not a conspiracy -- were behind the state's botched job of finding someone to run a network of walk-in mental health crisis centers. Beckman heads the administrative branch of the Colorado Department of Human Services, the office responsible for the failed solicitation process. The department has been accused of colluding with local actors -- that is, local providers of mental health services -- to elbow out a newcomer, but Beckman says a slew of mistakes were just human error (Jones, 12/2).

WBUR: Coming To Mass. Ballots? Nurse Staffing And Hospital 'Claw Back'
Two measures that the nurses’ union supports look like they've gathered enough signatures to move forward toward appearing on state ballots next year. One, titled The Patient Safety Act, would set a limit on how many patients a registered nurse can be assigned. The nurses' association says the measures have both gathered more than 100,000 signatures. Secretary of State William Galvin tells us on his website that for the 2014 election, "the initiative petition must be signed by a minimum of 68,911 certified voters. No more than one-quarter of the certified signatures may come from any one county" (Goldberg, 12/2).

Georgia Health News: Progress Being Made Against Costly Readmissions
Georgia's nursing homes and hospitals are collaborating more than ever to reduce readmissions, say officials with Georgia's Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), a state-based group funded by Medicare to review medical care. A big driver in this change has been the readmission penalties that hospitals now face. These penalties were created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Miller, 12/2). 

California Healthline: Health Information Exchange Taking Root In Northern California
Northern California health information organizations are helping lay the groundwork for the next steps in expanding health information exchange throughout the state. Their participation in pilot programs for secure messaging, rural health information exchange and personal health records puts Northern California communities in the forefront of the campaign to increase the use of health information technology. There are 16 community HIOs in California, half of which are operational. A new map shows health technology has reached 35 counties -- more than half of California's 58 counties (Edlin, 12/2).

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